Explore Noboribetsu Park Service Center
Many people visit Noboribetsu Park Service Center when they are on their way into the wider Jigokudani area and you will find a gorgeous wooden house here which also operates as a service center.
This is the place to learn more about this part of Hokkaido and they also have videos about the geology and topography of the region. They also have a few dioramas of the wildlife that you can expect to see on a hike around Jigokudani and you can also rent hiking equipment from here such as boots for the rainy season.
Visit Jigokudani Volcanic Valley
Jigokudani Volcanic Valley, or Hell Valley as it is called in English, offers breathtaking natural beauty. If you want to know the where the warm water in your hotel onsen comes from, this is the place to visit. Steam and sulfur rises out of this volcanic valley with power and elegance. It is a phenomenal sight to see.
Check out the demon festivals
There are a number of festivals here which are an ode to the demon culture in Noboribetsu. One of these is the Noboribetsu Hell Festival which takes place every August and is it is believed that the doors of Hell open at this time and the King of Hell, names Yamam comes out and brings with him an army of yukijin which are demons.
To scare off the demons the people of Noboribetsu take to the streets and there are colorful parades, firework shows and communal dance competitions. There is also another festival held from June to August which takes place on the Demon’s Fire Footpath and you can watch as locals set off handheld fireworks to chase away the demons said to lurk here.
Visit Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village
The Ainu people are the aboriginal people of Japan, and they have a rich culture and way of living which is preserved to this day in Hokkaido. The Shiraoi Ainu Museum and Village is an educational and fun way to learn about the customs of these hard-working indigenous people. Shiraoi is a mere 40 minute train ride from Noboribetsu. The museum teaches visitors about Ainu crafts, traditions, food, music, and dancing. There are Ainu folk dancing performances every 15 minutes, and visitors can even see Hokkaido brown bears and huntings dogs here.
Learn about Ainu music
The Ainu are the indigenous community that lives in the northern part of Japan and if you want to know more about them then you can visit the Shiraoi Ainu Museum which is dedicated to telling the story of their traditional instruments, songs and dance rituals.
This is also an open air museum and you will find models of old Ainu homes which are also located along the pretty shores of Lake Poroto. As you would expect there are also musical concerts held here throughout the day and this is one of the best places to come if you are a music lover and want to know more about the unique culture in this part of Hokkaido.
Try the ramen
If you want to try one of the signature dishes in Noboribetsu then you need to try the ramen which is also known as ‘jigokudani’ noodles.
The best place to try the ramen is at famous ramen shop Aji no Daio which serves this dish with differing levels of heat and you can choose from 1-10 on the spiciness scale. Be warned however that the noodles are not for the faint hearted so make sure you start off slowly if you are not used to eating huge amounts of chili.